Editor’s Note: This study was originally published by www.TheThoughtfulChristian.com. No substantive changes have been made. All rights reserved.
The Christmas story may be the most familiar story from the Bible, yet if asked to tell it, most people would get many details wrong! The story most of us "know" often represents an combination of biblical and secular tales. Was there really a little drummer boy? Did the angels lead the shepherds to the manger? Why were gold, frankincense, and myrrh appropriate gifts for a baby? Exploring these details of the nativity story will inform and enhance our appreciation of the season of Advent.
Sessions 1 and 2 will focus specifically on these questions, looking at the nativity stories in Matthew and Luke and then the story of the first live nativity. Session 3 lets students address the pros and cons of public displays of nativity scenes in general. Whether biblically grounded or not, the various elements of the nativity scene hold great symbolism for Christians, yet non-Christians sometimes protest their public display. Finally, in session 4, youth will examine the origin and meaning of gift-giving to celebrate Christ's birth. In particular, they'll look carefully at the gifts the magi brought, and the story of Jesus' birth that surrounds them.